four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
53-July-Aug-2011
By: 
Louise Penny
user_rating: 
0

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

A-A Trick of the LightIn A Trick of the Light, the seventh of Louise Penny's "cozies" to be set in Three Pines, Quebec (Bury Your Dead, The Cruelest Month, A Fatal Grace), Chief Inspector Armand Gamache investigates the murder of an acerbic art critic.

The Story: When the body of little-loved art critic Lillian Dyson turns up in the garden of Clara Morrow, an artist basking in the glow of the biggest night of her career, morbid interest ripples through the idyllic village of Three Pines, Quebec, a town so small and secretive that "it could not be found unless you were lost." Of course, Clara's neighbors wonder who of the prominent artists on hand could be responsible for such horror. Two investigators, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his deputy Jean Guy Beauvoir, are themselves in need of peace and quiet after a video of their wounding during an earlier shootout goes viral. What they discover in Three Pines, though, is that shades of light and dark define human nature as accurately as they describe art.
Minotaur. 352 pp. $25.99. ISBN: 9780312655457

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"Penny continues to amaze with each novel. Wrapped in exciting plots and domestic details, her characters are people we want to follow through their very real joys and sorrows." Michele Ross

Globe and Mail (Canada) 4 of 5 Stars
"This is a beautiful book, gorgeously written and carefully constructed. Penny's fans will adore it and those who haven't already discovered her should begin here." Margaret Cannon

New York Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars
"In her sly fashion, Penny has given us fair warning not to trust the antics of Three Pines' eccentric residents and colorful visitors. Behind each volatile outburst of marital discord and professional envy lies some deeper truth involving the betrayal of trust and the need for atonement and forgiveness." Marilyn Stasio

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"By the time I finished A Trick of the Light, I had come to think of it as a fascinating hybrid: a cozy that at best reads like good literary fiction. . . . If you're looking for a well-written mystery that highlights an amusing village, takes a nasty look at the art world and doesn't contain any cannibalism, beheadings or sexual perversion, you could do a lot worse than Penny's A Trick of the Light." Patrick Anderson

Critical Summary

Louise Penny's work has been compared favorably to that of Ruth Rendell, Minette Walters, and Agatha Christie, the British grande dame of the cozy. Prior to A Trick of the Light, despite penning half a dozen fine novels and cultivating a cadre of dedicated fans, Louise Penny has never received her share of critical attention (although her crime-writing peer, the bestselling Lisa Scottoline has acknowledged Penny as "superbly gifted"). In her nuanced portrayals of characters such as the late-blooming artist Clara Morrow and the evolving, charming, and delightfully complex Armand Gamache, Penny shines. She is "a writer blessed with considerable sophistication and literary skill--far more than Christie had or probably wanted" (Washington Post), and her latest effort will draw renewed--and deserved--attention to a mystery writer working at the peak of her craft.